Ted Clifton's   Updater   2019

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Pre-Order July 1, 2019!

Pacheco & Chino #3
Farmington, New Mexico, located in the Four Corners area where four states meet is about to experience a level of crime and mayhem never seen before.  The local sheriff has abandoned his post and taken old military equipment, including a tank, off to Colorado to prepare for the beginning of the end.  Left behind is the body of his wife, who was having an affair with the richest man in town.  Money, sex and all known sins come into play in a small town drama taking Pacheco and Chino into a conflict involving many of the good citizens in Farmington and the nearby Navajo Nation.

Ray Pacheco and Tyee Chino continue their unusual partnership with each other and the Governor of New Mexico. 

Subject Matter
My focus for this newsletter has been books, writing and the process of writing.  Of course that tends to be about my stuff since that is what I know.  My books mostly take place in the southwest so that also has been a feature; including food, travel and a little art.  I’m also writing a blog, which I have been doing for several years, that takes on other topics but mostly covers some of the same ground.  The newsletter comes out about once a month and the blog about once a week.  That is a lot of content on fairly narrow subjects.  So I was thinking maybe I should expand my subject matter.

How about politics?  I definitely have some thoughts, as I’m sure you do.  Opinions on our politics is something not in short supply.  But my political ideas probably don’t agree with yours so we will eventually end up parting ways over a political disagreement.  Very American, but not what I want.  So no political commentary.

There is always sports.  I’m a huge Colorado Rockies fan.  So I could have a baseball feature in the newsletter.  We could discuss ERAs, RBIs or maybe WARs.  Baseball is a game designed for player failure that has more statistics than Wall Street.  My favorite player, Charlie Blackmon, is a great player who fails to get a hit 70% of the time.  With a 300 batting average he is an all-star player who the majority of the time walks back to the dug-out after failing at the plate.  The team itself considers they are a good team if they win 50% of the time, or a great team at 60% wins and dream about being a super, once in a generation team winning 70% of the time.  It’s a game with a lot of failure.  While there may be some great life lessons in baseball-- it is not really all that interesting to read about.  So no sports.

While other content might add variety, I think I’ll stick with books, authors and writing as subjects for now.  One addition to the newsletter will be a feature about another author.  These might be well-known authors or not so well known; but they will be people I have read and enjoyed.  No kick-backs involved, just writers who contributed to some of my enjoyable reading time and who I think you might also enjoy.

Todd Borg is one of those authors.  His books are mysteries with a strong central character, Owen McKenna, who is an ex-big city Homicide Inspector.  I read a bunch of his books in a row and enjoyed the continuity of the stories and the interactions of the characters.  Check out the new feature author section below.


Reviews and Comments

Failure in hitting a baseball is the norm, but for most things it is expected that you should achieve the best rating possible.  Charlie Blackmon can hit 30% of the time but will still be an all-star.  A writer must hit 100% or lose a star.  (Does this sound like whining—see below)

I had a reviewer comment that a comma was missing on page 128 of Santa Fe Mojo suggesting that somehow that had importance related to a 300-page book.  Well—it does.  Every comma, semi-colon or question mark that belongs should be there; or if they don’t belong shouldn’t be there.  I agree, it is annoying as a reader to find a mistake in a book.  It interrupts your reading and therefore breaks the mood. 

A very humorous book about punctuation is Eats, Shoots & Leaves.  Never thought I would recommend a book about commas--but this is very entertaining and informative. 

So let me be clear, I agree with the reviewer; that comma should have been there and therefore I deserve a poorer rating.  The goal for every one of my books is zero mistakes. 

I have mentioned before the effort involved in trying to prevent any errors from being in a book.  This is a team effort involving a small group of people who help me finish the books.  Editors and proofreaders spend considerable time going over the manuscript to make every correction needed.  Yet, there it is—the missing comma.  it's very frustrating.  Maybe I should've been a baseball player!
Bio for Toddy Borg.  As a child in Minnesota, Todd Borg grew up with two fixations, reading mysteries and skiing the great, precipitous mountain ranges of the Upper Midwest. The first fixation led him to make up his own stories. The second led him and his wife to move to Tahoe in 1990, where they could ski on real mountains.

Borg now has 17 Tahoe mysteries featuring ex-San Francisco Homicide Inspector Owen McKenna who plies his detective trade in Tahoe. Borg’s books have achieved multiple accolades, many rave reviews in newspapers and magazines coast-to-coast including a starred review in Library Journal. His books have won the Ben Franklin Award for Best Mystery of the Year and been chosen by Library Journal as one of the Top 5 Mysteries of the Year.
Todd has written a lot of books which shows endurance if nothing else.  I've read ten or more and enjoyed each one.  I highly recommend that you check out his books.
This months southwest dish was going to be breakfast tacos; but as I was exploring what I liked the best, I realized that one of those ingredients might not be a known item.  Calabacitas are a great addition to all types of southwest food, but I think this is for sure a fantastic compliment to breakfast tacos.  So rather than give you my favorite breakfast taco recipe, we will first look at this great side dish that will make our breakfast taco or any taco better. 
Loaded with onions, peppers, zucchini, corn and tomatoes and then covered in melted cheese, it’s the definition of a comforting side dish that’s still mostly healthy!

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 cup frozen yellow corn
1 4-ounces can green chiles
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1-2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese

In a large cast iron skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and poblano pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and stir to combine.
Add the various bell peppers, zucchini and yellow squash and cook for another 5 minutes until the zucchini and squash are slightly soft. Stir in the corn and green chiles and continue to sauté for a few minutes more until the corn is warmed through. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the tomatoes, stir to combine.
Top the mixture with the grated cheddar cheese and cover for a few minutes to melt the cheese. Serve immediately.

Note: you can also top with green onions and cilantro.

Santa Fe Historical Churches
San Miguel Mission Church
Recognized as “the Oldest Church in the United States,” San Miguel Mission is located one block south of Loretto Chapel on Old Santa Fe Trail, between Alameda and Paseo de Peralta. Within easy walking distance from the historic Santa Fe Plaza, it is now surrounded by lovely restaurants and shops, and with the “Oldest House” right down the alley, it’s definitely a must see on any Santa Fe site list.

Clifton note:  This is the church featured in Fiction No More.

St. Francis Cathedral
St. Francis Cathedral is located just one block east of the historic Santa Fe Plaza at the end of San Francisco Street. Dedicated in 1886, the Cathedral is a blend of adobe, French-Romanesque and modern architectural styles. It is also one of the city’s most recognized, photographed and beloved landmarks.
Loretto Chapel
Loretto Chapel, constructed in the 1870s, is believed to be the first Gothic structure built west of the Mississippi. It served as the Loretto Academy, operated by the Sisters of Loretto. A design flaw existed in the chapel, as there was no way to get to the choir loft from the main floor. Many carpenters were consulted for a solution, but all of them felt that a traditional stairway would take up too much room. Most suggested that a ladder be used or the balcony be reconstructed.

The Sisters sought divine guidance, and on the ninth and final day of their Novena, a mysterious carpenter appeared who designed and constructed a circular stairway to the loft. His “miraculous stairway” contains 33 steps in two full 360-degree turns, with no center support, nor is it held from the sides. Upon completing the stairway, the carpenter disappeared without receiving payment for his work.
Ted Clifton (short) bio
Ted Clifton, award winning author, is currently writing in three mystery series—Pacheco & Chino Mystery series, the Muckraker Mystery series and the Vincent Malone series.  Clifton’s focus is on strong character development with unusual backdrops.  His books take place in Southwest settings with some of his stories happening in the 1960s, 1980s and current times.  The settings are places Clifton has lived and knows well, giving great authenticity to his narratives.  Clifton has received the IBPA Benjamin Franklin award and the CIPA EVVY award--twice.  Today Clifton and his wife reside in Denver, Colorado, with frequent visits to one of their favorite destinations, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Book Updates
Not much has changed in the last month--I should be writing faster. 

Four Corners War.  Preorder should be up and running  July 1st. 
Durango Two Step.  Vincent Malone #4 has been shoved back a few months. 
AudioBook-- Santa Fe Mojo.  Getting closer --maybe something by July?
Box Sets.  Series starter box set which would include Dog Gone Lies, Murder So Wrong and Santa Fe Mojo at a very attractive price should be available soon.
Doctor Hightower.  Currently writing.  I said making good progress two months ago.  Making slow progress last month.  Next step will be no progress and therapy. 
Odds and Ends
Cars and More Cars

My first car was a hand-me-down from my older brother.  It was a 1955 Ford Fairlane.  I was thrilled.  Within a couple of years my parents bought me a “better” car a 1960 Corvair.  Yep, that Corvair.  Ugly as sin and leaked oil like it was free.  The whole experience around that car was a complete disaster.  I think I’m still experiencing some kind of mental trauma from the short time I drove a Corvair. 

Now I did go on to own a GTO and a Ford Thunderbird convertible, but mentioning them would just sound like bragging.  Suffice it to say cars were an important part of my life from a very early age.

My brother, who was seven years older than me, always had great cars.  One of the great days of my high school life was when he loaned me his 1962 red Jaguar XKE.  Driving around in that car for the day was akin to being in the “king-for-a-day” parade.  I knew it was just the car but it was something special. 

In many ways cars are becoming less important to the status of humans, especially male humans—that is a good thing.  Still those old cars sure provided a great deal of joy to many a teenage kid (and a few older kids too).

My books have featured cars matched to certain protagonists.  Pat Allen, the bootlegger from the 1950s, drove one of the best –a 1952 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible.  It was luxury and status.  Driving that car in 1952 made the statement you had made it to the top.  Except for his mistress, Sally, it was his most prized possession.  I know, there is something wrong with that statement—but it was 1952.

Vincent Malone had an older 1994 Mustang that made him feel young.  Even in the depths of despair, the car was a boost to his male ego.  However, he mostly kept it in storage because it cost a fortune in gas to drive.

Ray Pacheco had an “old” Jeep—not described more than that.  The Jeep was a good fit for Ray and, of course, was perfect for his adopted dog Happy. 

Tommy Jacks adventures in the Muckraker Series take place in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Reflecting his income status on the low rung, he was driving a twice-wrecked 1955 Ford Fairlane.  Yes, that is the same as my first car.  Mine was probably in better shape than Tommy’s.  The car got him from point A to B but it was not very important to him, although, when it was taken by one of the book’s villains in Murder So Final, he was sad.  It was ugly, but it was his.
The car was later found abandoned down a ravine in New Mexico.  It was now worse than a junker--it was a total wreck.  Tommy's dad stepped in and helped him get a 1960 Chevy Impala--Tommy wasn't sure it was the car he wanted, but his soon to be wife thought it was "fab"--whatever in the hell that meant.  It did feel like he had moved up a rung or two on the economic ladder.
Thanks everyone for being a reader!
Check out my Blog.  I'm usually posting something once a week; sometimes more, sometimes less.  You can follow the Blog and get updates when something is posted.
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